This Creamy Tarragon Chicken Salad is the perfect chicken salad for a spring brunch or a light summer meal, plus 6 ways to serve this chicken salad recipe!
Creating this Recipe for Tarragon Chicken Salad
I’ve been waiting and waiting to make this salad, but it has been quite difficult to find fresh tarragon in stores around here. I finally found some at Sunflower Farmer’s Market, though the other weeks I checked they were out.
I’m definitly considering planting some tarragon in my garden this year so I can make this whenever I chose, not whenever the stores decide to carry tarragon!
I don’t really have a lot to say about this salad besides how much I enjoyed it. And how easy it was.
It was a perfect lighter feeling dinner for a warm day and was full of flavor. The brining kept the chicken super moist. Baking it wrapped in foil really helped pack in the flavor of the tarragon.
If you’re not usually a fan of chicken salad, you might want to give this tarragon chicken salad recipe a try. It has so much more flavor than a simple chicken salad
Why I Love this Tarragon Chicken Salad!
Tarragon is such a unique flavor in this chicken salad recipe and is so fresh tasting! Plus, the green flecks in the sauce add some nice visual interest to a dish that often looks bland!
The grapes in this tarragon chicken salad add a nice sweetness in contrast to the savory creamy tarragon sauce, and a fun pop of color!
I love that this tarragon chicken salad uses whole chicken breast that is chopped or shredded rather than canned chicken (you can totally sub though if you need to!)
Pecans give a nice crunch to this recipe for chicken salad!
You can serve this tarragon chicken salad recipe in a variety of ways (see more on this in the section lower down!).
What is in this Tarragon Chicken Salad Recipe
- French Tarragon
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Sour Cream
- Green Onions
- Red Seedless Grapes*
*I use purple, seedless grapes when preparing this, but you could use green grapes or a combination of the two if you like. Just make sure they’re seedless.
**If you have a pecan allergy, try substituting almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts in place of them. Or, simply omit the nuts all together.
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
Can I Use Canned Chicken to Make this Chicken Salad Recipe?
Yes, you can definitely substitute a high quality canned chicken in place of cooking boneless, skinless chicken breast when making this tarragon chicken salad recipe.
Using canned chicken isn’t my preferred way to prepare this recipe, but the substitution works in a pinch if you are out of chicken breast or short on time. For best results, make sure to fully drain the canned chicken when using it as a substitute in this recipe!
How to Make Tarragon Chicken Salad
- First, you’ll make a a simple salt water brine to brine the chicken breast (30 minutes). This helps season the chicken and keep it moist.
- After brining, you’ll bake the chicken seasoned with black pepper and fresh tarragon.
- When the chicken has cooked through (165 degrees F), let it rest for 10 minutes and then cube or shred (how to shred chicken.
- Transfer the chicken to the fridge to cool.
- Meanwhile, blend sour cream through pepper in a food processor or blender. Stirring and scraping sides periodically.
- Combine the tarragon sauce with celery, grapes, and chilled chicken in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Serve chilled on a bed of mixed greens and garnish with chopped pecans.
The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
How to Make Dairy-Free Chicken Salad
I haven’t personally tested this tarragon chicken salad recipe with dairy-free ingredients.
However, if I were to make a dairy-free version of this creamy tarragon chicken salad, I would swap the sour cream and the mayonnaise for their vegan or dairy-free counterparts.
You can usually find vegan mayo and sour cream pretty easily in most large grocery stores as well as health food chains, such as Whole Foods.
Make Ahead Tips for this Easy Chicken Salad Recipe
This recipe offers plenty of opportunities to make preparation simple. Here are my favorite make ahead tips for this tarragon chicken salad recipe:
- The chicken can be cooked up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
- Alternatively, you can bake a batch of the chicken and store it in the freezer in portions for this recipe and take out what you need when you plan to make this creamy tarragon chicken salad.
- You can also use a rotisserie chicken or leftover roast chicken.
- Prepare the sauce up to a day ahead, and store it in the refrigerator.
- Slice the grapes up to a day ahead. Store refrigerated.
- Chop the pecans in advance.
- The entire recipe can be prepared and assembled (except for the greens) a day or two ahead of time – just make sure to keep it refrigerated and stored in a sealed container.
6 Ways to Serve Tarragon Chicken Salad
I love that there are so many ways that you can serve this tarragon chicken salad recipe! Here are 6 of my favorite ways to serve this recipe:
Serve a scoop of this this chicken salad on top of greens for a tarragon chicken salad. This is my favorite way for a lighter summer meal and a nice big salad.
Serve tarragon chicken salad inside lettuce cups (I like butter, bib, or iceberg lettuce best) to make an amazing gluten-free chicken salad wrap.
For a traditional chicken salad sandwich, serve this tarragon chicken salad on a buttery croissant (YUM – my favorite way for a sandwich!) or between 2 slices of your favorite bread (toasted for extra fancy). For an extra pop of green, consider adding some sprouts or watercress greens.
Fill baked wonton cups with a scoop of this chicken salad for easy bite-sized chicken salad appetizers. This is another great bridal shower or baby shower recipe.
Cut the crusts off of thin white bread or pumpernickel bread and make fancy bridal or baby shower chicken salad sandwiches. After assembling them, cut the sandwiches into triangles.
Serve a bowl of this easy recipe for chicken salad alongside crackers or homemade pita chips for scooping. This works best when you either shred the chicken or chop it very finely. You’ll also want to cut the celery into more of a fine dice, and quarter the grapes.
How Long Does Chicken Salad Last?
This recipe for chicken salad is best served within 3-5 days of making it. The best way to store this recipe is in an airtight container in your refrigerator. I don’t recommend attempting to freeze it once it is assembled.
You will likely need to give it a stir before serving leftovers as some of the ingredients can release liquid during storage. This is nothing to worry about as long as the tarragon chicken salad is consumed within 5 days and has been stored properly.
If you don’t think you’ll eat the entire recipe within that time period, I recommend starting with a half batch of the recipe to be on the safe side so you don’t end up tossing leftovers in the trash.
What to Serve with this Tarragon Chicken Salad
The first time I made this chicken salad recipe, we had baked sweet potato fries and Raspberry Iced Tea with it. The whole meal felt refreshing. For dessert we enjoyed Almond Butter Cookies. I was so excited for leftovers!
Some other side dish recipe ideas to serve with this tarragon chicken salad are:
Fun summer drink ideas to serve with tarragon chicken salad:
- Watermelon Mint Lemonade
- Fresh Pineapple Mint Moscow Mules (for kid-friendly, omit the vodka)
- Sparkling Rhubarb Raspberry Lemonade
- Fresh Strawberry Lemonade
- Spiced Lemonade
Looking for more summer drink ideas to serve with this tarragon chicken salad recipe? Chicken out the drink recipes in the recipe index!
Try this Tarragon Chicken Salad at Home!
Next time you’re looking for a chicken salad recipe, give this delicious recipe a try! Did you think it was better than a classic chicken salad recipe? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of it!
On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of this tarragon chicken salad!
More Chicken Salad Recipes
Looking for more chicken salad recipes to try? Here are a few of our favorites that you might like too!
Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad is a fun twist on the classic Cobb salad. This recipe features buffalo grilled chicken, celery, blue cheese and blue cheese dressing paired with classic ingredients like lettuce, egg, and avocado.
These Southwest Chicken Salad Wraps are a breeze to whip up, and the chicken salad will stay fresh for up to three days. Make a big batch and enjoy throughout the week!
Fuel up and support heart health with this Winter Spinach Chicken Salad Quinoa Bowl with Creamy Almond White Balsamic Dressing.
Pineapple Chicken Quinoa Salad is easy to make, especially if you have rotisserie or canned chicken on hand. It’s also hearty enough to keep the hunger pangs at bay for the rest of the day. Best of all, it is a really healthy, nutrition-packed meal.
Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You can always head over to check out the recipe index to look for more recipes.
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For the Chicken
- 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 4 c water
- 4 Tbs kosher salt
- 1 stem fresh tarragon
- Black Pepper, to taste
For the Tarragon Sauce
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- fresh tarragon leaves from 2-3 stems
- 2 green onions, sliced thin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
For the Salad Mix Ins
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
- 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
- mixed greens
Preparing the Chicken
- Dissolve salt in water. Pour into a gallon sized ziplock bag.
- Submerge chicken in brining solution for 30 minutes.
- Remove, pat dry.
- Place chicken on a large sheet of foil.
- Sprinkle with black pepper.
- Place leaves from 1 stem of fresh tarragon all over the chicken. Fold the foil up.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, or until chicken measures 160 degrees F with a meat thermometer.
- Dice chicken and set aside in refrigerator to cool.
Making the Tarragon Sauce
- Meanwhile, blend sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, tarragon leaves, green onions, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Stirring and scraping sides periodically.
Assembling the Tarragon Chicken Salad
- Combine sauce with celery, grapes, and chilled chicken.
- Serve chilled on a bed of mixed greens and garnish with chopped pecans or on a crossaint.
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Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 268Saturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gProtein 16g